Wednesday, March 9, 2011

From Ashes to Ashes

This Lent already feels different. For the first time in quite a while, I got to spend most of my Ash Wednesday in prayer. This morning I had my quiet prayer time, then at noon, I joined a few others at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Richmond.
When I arrived there were two people there from a Baptist church a ways outside of Richmond who come regularly to pray at the clinic and do sidewalk counseling. The woman told me of a mother they’d been able to speak with the day before who was five weeks pregnant and had been considering having an abortion. After they spoke with her and gave her some information about the development of her child at five weeks, she chose to keep her baby. They presented her with a baby blanket and some information about local pregnancy resources.
While there, we read the Gospel account of Christ’s Passion, did some intercessory prayer, then the four Catholics in the group joined in praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. By the time the clock turned to one, a student from VCU and a gentleman from St. Benedict’s, who has long been involved in the vigil, showed up to pray for the next hour.
After that I went to the Pastoral Center where my mom works to drop off the sign-up books, statements of peace, “I Pray 40 Days for Life” pins, and a number of T-shirts, bookmarks and a few of the magnetic car ribbons all with the 40 Days for Life: Pray to End Abortion message on them which a dear brother in Christ had purchased for the Kick-off dinner. My mom was excited to get one of the T-shirts and several more sign-ups for the Spring vigil which began today, March 9 and goes through April 17, Palm Sunday, from 7am-7pm each day of the week.
 After that, I went to St Michael’s to meet someone who has been involved in 40 Days for Life, Cursillo, and is also an amazing prayer warrior who leads the Rachel’s Vineyard post-healing abortion ministry in the Richmond area. I had asked this remarkable woman to come be the silent intercessor during the Theophostic Prayer Ministry session I had this afternoon. Last week, I’d really been struggling and had hoped to set up a time I could go out to Chesapeake to the New Creation Charismatic Community center for a Theophostic prayer session. As God would have it, a facilitator who’d prayed with me the last time she was here to answer questions during one of our day-long trainings on Theophostic Prayer Ministry, was coming through town and offered to pray with me in the afternoon. This was definitely a God-incident for which I was truly grateful!
As usual, the time we spent together went by very quickly. I again left the session feeling a deeper sense of peace and even some joy. I hopped in the car and headed over to St. Benedict’s where Kevin and I had decided we were going to go since it would be a Mass and an Ash Wednesday service. The church was packed! I slipped into the pew with Kevin and our favorite brother in Christ. Since it was a full Mass at St. Benedict’s, much of it was done in Latin, there was plenty of incense used, and a sufficient amount of kneeling. The service was very moving, traditional, and rich in historical and spiritual significance.
At its conclusion, Kevin, our brother, and I went to Panera for a soup supper. After which, Kevin and I came home and shared the Lenten reflections for today from various sources. Overall, it’s been a quiet, prayerful day.
I’ve felt grateful for such a blessed first day of Lent. Lord, please help all of us be more open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, so that You are free to work in and through us to draw us closer to You, Your Love, Your Son, Truth, Passion, and Redemptive Suffering. Amen.
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